Resellers expect the new subsidised PC and Internet marketing strategy being pushed by leading vendors will grow the whole PC market. However, some suspect it will cause casualties amongst independent retailers. Gerard Norsa contacted channel players last week to gauge their reaction.
"It is a marketing technique that is a consumer thing. Basically it is a financing package. One of the benefits of this sort of marketing is that it gives the consumer an impression that the PC is cheap but the cost of the hardware is definitely built in there somewhere.
"We do a lot of financing because it is good for businesses to be able to pay for things as they use them.
"This is not really for business however, because they do the sums and understand the true costs of their IT purchases.
"They are not free and this is not the cheapest way to buy PCs."
Jon Johnston, managing director, Centari"This sort of concept has been very successful with mobile phones and I think it is going to have very broad appeal in the consumer marketplace.
"This is a long-term proposition for the way computers will be purchased in the future. It has turned what was a big-ticket purchase into something that is a lot more manageable for the average computer buyer.
"We know that we have to come up with a similar deal to compete and are currently talking to ISPs and PC vendors with a view to achieving that."
Don Sparks, computer product manager, Clive Peeters"There are some consumer issues here as the quality of the product is of some concern.
"This is the type of offer that could be too good to be true. It may cost way more than the hardware is actually worth and the technology will be obsolete well before the end of the rental period.
"Does anybody who knows anything about PCs seriously think 32MB RAM will be enough for quality Net service into the year 2002? I think not."
Lissa Haprov, president, Computer Industry Association of South Australia"We're always looking at new ways of bundling our Internet services. Deals such as this are something we're very interested in."
David Packman, communications director, AOL Australia"Nearly every consumer will buy their computers in this way in the future and it will be good for the industry.
"When mobile phones started being sold in this manner, that market expanded by 300 per cent. I don't think the growth in PC sales will be that dramatic but I do think it will be in the order of 30 per cent and that means that there are more software and accessory sales opportunities for retailers.
"I also think it will not be very good for small retailers and ISPs. There will be a lot of joint ventures, closures and mergers from this."
Sasan Rahmani, manager, Adelaide Computer Superstore